Content tagged with "Reptiles and Amphibians"

photo of juvenile southern coal skink

Southern Coal Skink

Plestiodon anthracinus pluvialis
Few people know about this secretive lizard. It has a wide, coal-black line along its sides. During the breeding season males have an orange head.

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Image of a southern leopard frog

Southern Leopard Frog

Lithobates sphenocephalus (formerly Rana sphenocephala)
The attractively spotted southern leopard frog is an excellent jumper and quickly leaps into water when startled. The males’ chuckling calls entertain us even as they function to attract females for breeding. Found statewide except for the northwestern corner.

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Southern painted turtle

Southern Painted Turtle

Chrysemys dorsalis
The southern painted turtle is small and has a prominent yellow, orange, or red lengthwise stripe down the middle of the upper shell. This aquatic turtle is found only in the Bootheel.

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Image of a speckled kingsnake

Speckled Kingsnake (Speckled King Snake)

Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
This handsome snake is generally black, but a white or yellow spot in the center of most of the scales makes it look speckled. The belly is yellowish with some irregular black markings. Like the rest of our kingsnakes, this species vibrates its tail when alarmed.

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Image of a spotted salamander

Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum
A dancing salamander? Hundreds of them all at once? In the water? That’s how spotted salamanders create their next generation, in only a few springtime evenings each year.

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Spring Peeper

Spring Peeper

Pseudacris crucifer
The voices of spring peepers are a true announcement that winter is ending. These small, slender frogs can be several overall colors, but seeing an X on the back is a good way to ensure your identification.

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Texas Horned Lizard

Phrynosoma cornutum
The Texas horned lizard is rare in Missouri but once lived in several southwestern counties. Its name comes from the large, hornlike scales along the back of the head.

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Texas ratsnake (black rat snake)

Texas Ratsnake (Black Rat Snake)

Pantherophis obsoleteus
This glossy “black snake” is one of Missouri’s largest and most familiar snakes. Its size and often deep-black color makes it seem imposing, but it is as harmless to humans as it is bad news for rodents!

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Three-toed box turtle

Three-Toed Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina triunguis
This box turtle usually has three hind toes. Its high-domed shell usually has a top ridge and is olive or brown with faint yellow or orange lines. Look for it in woodland habitats.

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Image of a timber rattlesnake

Timber Rattlesnake

Crotalus horridus
Missouri’s largest venomous snake is dangerously venomous, but there are few cases of rattlesnake bites in our state. It frequents rough country, is mostly nocturnal in summer and few Missourians ever encounter it.

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